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The Softer Side of Business Analysis
The Softer Side of Business Analysis
The Softer Side of Business Analysis
The Softer Side of Business Analysis
The Softer Side of Business Analysis
The Softer Side of Business Analysis
The Softer Side of Business Analysis
The Softer Side of Business Analysis
The Softer Side of Business Analysis
The Softer Side of Business Analysis
The Softer Side of Business Analysis
The Softer Side of Business Analysis
The Softer Side of Business Analysis
The Softer Side of Business Analysis
The Softer Side of Business Analysis
The Softer Side of Business Analysis
The Softer Side of Business Analysis
The Softer Side of Business Analysis
The Softer Side of Business Analysis
The Softer Side of Business Analysis
The Softer Side of Business Analysis
The Softer Side of Business Analysis
The Softer Side of Business Analysis
The Softer Side of Business Analysis
The Softer Side of Business Analysis
The Softer Side of Business Analysis
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The Softer Side of Business Analysis

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Business Analysis has been said to be part art, part science. Is the Business Analyst better served to have the hard skills or the soft skills? Must the Business Analyst have industry knowledge? …

Business Analysis has been said to be part art, part science. Is the Business Analyst better served to have the hard skills or the soft skills? Must the Business Analyst have industry knowledge? Should the Business Analyst be a Subject Matter Expert? Do the skills needed change for an Agile project vs. Waterfall project? These are some of the questions we will investigate and answer. This audience participation, open discussion presentation will dive into these issues and look at which soft skills the Business Analyst should have to be effective. We will see which soft skills can help the Business Analyst compensate for lack of industrial knowledge as they grow in that knowledge area.

Learning points:
* Which key soft skills are truly important for the Business Analyst.
* How to effectively measure a Business Analyst in several key areas.
* How to quickly gain needed knowledge in several areas.
* How to win over an uncooperative Business Stakeholder.
* What skills are necessary for Agile practitioners.

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  • 1. The Softer Side of Business Analysis Bluegrass BA Chapter January 15, 2014 By: Aaron Whittenberger, CBAP Senior Business Analyst Consultant Cohesion Business Technology
  • 2. Aaron Whittenberger, CBAP • Senior Business Analyst Consultant • Cohesion Business Technology • 27 Years of Business and IT Experience • 14 Years of Consulting Experience • 14 Years of Business Analysis Experience • 10 Years of Project Management Experience • Bluegrass BA Chapter • President • Cincinnati IIBA® Chapter • Program Chair, Southwest Ohio BA Regional Conference 2013 • IIBA® • Director, Americas Eastern Region • Co-Chair, Certification Role Delineation Committee
  • 3. Business Analysis vs. Art • Communication • Building Relationships • Create Shared Vision Soft Skills Science • Process Modeling • Writing Requirements • Documentation Hard Skills
  • 4. The Witty BA says: Business Analysis is ninety percent art and the other half is science. You can observe a lot by just watching. It was impossible to get a conversation going, everybody was talking too much. If people don’t want to come to the requirements walkthru, nobody’s gonna stop them. I wish I had an answer to that because I am tired of answering that question. I’m a lucky guy, I am happy to be a Business Analyst; and I want to thank everybody for making this night necessary.
  • 5. Communication • Oral • Formal • Informal (Passing in the Hall) • Listening • Written • Business Writing • Email • Instant Message • “Emoticons are for little girls”—Guy Hemmer, Fifth Third Bank • Requirements
  • 6. Active Listening • Visual/Verbal Hints • • • • Head nods Ah uh Repeat back Take notes • “…try actually listening”—Rick Claire, Business Educator, PM Centers USA • What Not To Do • Yawn • Zone out • Interrupt inappropriately / frequently
  • 7. Interpersonal Savvy • • • • • • • Communication Active Listening Be Approachable Influencing Negotiation Trustworthiness Ethics
  • 8. Important BA Skills • Facilitation • • • • Know what the goal is Guide the conversation Keep side conversations to a minimum Scribe • Negotiation • Bring a group of stakeholders to a consensus decision • Understand and consider all stakeholder’s point of view • Ensure each stakeholder understands the other point(s) of view
  • 9. Important BA Skills (continued) • Teamwork • Collaboration • Personal Organization • Time Management • Learning • New organization • New business processes • • • • • Learn from your Team Learn from business stakeholders Learn from documentation Learn from market research Learn from your individual research
  • 10. Important BA Skills (continued) • Personal Organization • Keep your work space organized for efficiency • Be prepared for discussions • Especially when you are facilitating the discussion • Building Relationships • • • • • Interpersonal Savvy Negotiation Facilitation Trustworthiness Ethics ―The job of Business Analysts will change dramatically over the next five years, we will no longer be doing process models.‖—Kitty Haas, Kathleen Haas & Associates
  • 11. Important BA Knowledge • Organizational Knowledge
  • 12. Organizational Knowledge – Project Team Role Name Title Business Sponsor Karen Elliott VP, Compliance and Governance Business Owner David Apple Director, Individual Insurance Project Manager Dale Peterson Lead Project Manager Business Analyst Aaron Whittenberger Sr. Business Analyst Development Lead Terry Grooms Manager, Development QA Lead Charles McMillan Manager, QA Training Lead Liz O’Brien Training Director
  • 13. Important BA Knowledge • Systems Knowledge • Technology in use • Infrastructure • Industrial Knowledge • Company’s Industry • Business Lingo • Three Letter Acronyms (TLA) • Lines of Business • Common Business Processes
  • 14. Which would you rather have? • Industry Knowledge or Excellent BA Skills • Excellent BA or CBAP • Soft Skills or Hard Skills
  • 15. The Agile Manifesto The Mission Statement We Value: over Individuals and Interactions • Communication • Interpersonal Savvy • Building Relationships Process and Tools • Creating Mockups • Process Modeling • Business Modeling
  • 16. The Agile Manifesto The Mission Statement We Value: over Individuals and Interactions Working Software • Systems Knowledge • Application Knowledge Process and Tools Comprehensive Documentation • Business Writing • Documentation
  • 17. The Agile Manifesto The Mission Statement We Value: over Individuals and Interactions Working Software Customer Collaboration • Communication • Teamwork • Trustworthiness Process and Tools Comprehensive Documentation Contract Negotiation • Facilitation • Negotiation
  • 18. The Agile Manifesto The Mission Statement We Value: over Individuals and Interactions Working Software Customer Collaboration Responding to Change Process and Tools Comprehensive Documentation Contract Negotiation Following a Plan ―Facilitation and Modeling are two very important skills for a BA Agile Team Member‖ – Mark Wavle, CBAP, Cardinal Solutions Group
  • 19. What BA Skills Are Important for You • What does the Organization Define as Important? • • • • Skills needed for your Role Skills needed for your situations Performance Reviews Organization’s BA Competency Model
  • 20. Organization’s BA Competency Model Business Analyst I Novice Competent Expert Creative Thinking Listening Oral Communication Problem Solving Decision Making Ethics Business Analyst II Creative Thinking Decision Making Listening Organizational Knowledge Problem Solving Oral Communication Business Analyst III Properly Identifies Stakeholders Creative Thinking Listening Elicitation Techniques Problem Solving Decision Making
  • 21. Measuring Effectiveness – Hard Skills • • • • Number of Missed Requirements. Number of Defects. Amount of Rework. Effectiveness of Solution in meeting the business need. Client: ―It is exactly what I asked for but not what I need!‖
  • 22. Measuring Effectiveness – Soft Skills • Learning • Rapid absorption of new information and new domains. • Agreement of stakeholders that analysis models effectiveness and completely describe the domain. • Creative Thinking / Problem Solving • Selected solutions meet defined objectives and solve the underlying problem. • Systems Thinking • Understanding of how systems adapt to external pressures and changes. • Understanding of how change to a component affects the system as a whole.
  • 23. Measuring Effectiveness (continued) • Personal Organization • The ability to find information. • Regular on-time completion of tasks. • The ability to easily identify all outstanding work and status of each work item. • Trustworthiness / Building Relationships • Stakeholder acceptance of BA recommendations. • Stakeholders involving BA in decision making. • Willingness of stakeholders to support and defend the BA when problems occur.
  • 24. Measuring Effectiveness (continued) • Communication • Effectively paraphrasing statements to ensure understanding. • Effective facilitation of sessions, ensuring success through preparedness and coordination. • Can communicate the criticality and urgency of a situation in a calm, rational manner with proposed solutions. • Ability to adjust the style of the message to the audience. • Facilitation / Negotiation • Ability to identify important issues. • Ability to identify common areas of agreement. • Understanding and considering all parties’ interests, motivations and objectives. • Leadership / Influencing • Articulation of a clear and inspiring vision of a desired future state. • Ability to reduce resistance to necessary change.
  • 25. Bibliography • • • • • • • • Business Analysis Body of Knowledge® (BABOK ®) Guide IIBA ® Business Analysis Competency Model 27 years of Business and IT Work Experience Webinar: Communications for Business Analysts —Rick Claire, Business Educator, PM Centers USA Presentation: Improving Your BA Skills —Aaron Whittenberger, Senior IT Consultant Presentation: Adapting the BA and PM Roles for Complex Projects —Kitty Haas, Principal Consultant, Kathleen Haas & Associates Presentation: Revisiting Communications 101 in the Modern Age —Guy Hemmer, Senior Business Analyst, Fifth Third Bank Presentation: Facilitating Success on Agile Projects: A BA’s Role —Mark Wavle, CBAP, Principal Consultant, Cardinal Solutions
  • 26. Connect with Aaron Whittenberger, CBAP: IIBA Questions: Aaron.Whittenberger@gmail.com Bluegrassiiba@gmail.com Read Aaron’s articles on Bridging-the-Gap: http://www.bridging-the-gap.com/author/AaronWhittenberger/ You may also read Aaron’s old blog: http://blog.starbaseinc.com/blog/it-consultant Connect with Aaron on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/aaronwhittenberger Follow Aaron on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/TheWittyBA http://www.iiba.org http://bluegrassiiba.com

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